Rays journal: How far did that ball hit by prospect Nate Lowe really go?

Blast carried over boardwalk beyond right-centerfield fence and landed on roof of building.
Rays staffers Dave Haller and Ryan Sheets on roof of building past right-centerfield boardwalk where Nate Lowe's homer landed. [MARC TOPKIN | Times]
Rays staffers Dave Haller and Ryan Sheets on roof of building past right-centerfield boardwalk where Nate Lowe's homer landed. [MARC TOPKIN | Times]
Published Feb. 27, 2019|Updated Feb. 27, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE — Prospect Nate Lowe earned attention as he rose three levels through the Rays system last year not just for 27 homers he hit but how far some went.

Lowe showed that power in Wednesday’s 5-4 win over the Red Sox, launching a blast that carried over the right-centerfield fence and adjacent boardwalk then landed on the roof of the minor-league clubhouse building.

“It felt pretty good,’’ Lowe said. “I practice doing that a lot in BP; that’s kind of the intent going up there. It’s nice to have it happen in a game, but it’s just a spring training game. Good swing, get rewarded a little bit, but better stuff next couple days.

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TrackMan data at Charlotte Sports Park estimates the ball went 448 in the air, with a 108 mph exit velocity and 31-degree launch angle. PR staffers Dave Haller and Ryan Sheets went on the roof and found the ball — intact, by the way — having rolled to a stop 567 feet from home plate.

“He’s a big strong boy,’’ teammate Daniel Robertson said. “He’s exciting to watch. Even in BP he’s putting on a show.’’

Manager Kevin Cash said it was good to the power Lowe – listed at 6-feet-4, 245 pounds - showed in batting practice transition to a game, crushing a cutter from big-league veteran, and former Ray, Erasmo Ramirez.

Lowe, 23, is most likely headed back to Triple-A Durham, where he finished his dazzling 2018 run, but Cash allowed there is time for convincing otherwise.

“He might be ready now,’’ Cash said. “We’re not, I’m not, one to hold anybody back. Just keep doing what you’re doing. He’s definitely making a good impression.’’

Lowe, who admitted he’d been taking aim at that building during parts of two seasons with the Class A Stone Crabs, said he’s just doing his part.

“A personal goal of mine for spring training is to make sure that I’m ready for whichever opening day I’m a part of,’’ he said. “The ultimate goal isn’t to hit homers or hit .500 in spring training or do ridiculous stuff but to make sure that I’m ready to go. Being able to get a ball out of the yard, being able to get a ball flush on the barrel like that is another step getting me ready for opening day.’'

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Snell game

Cy Young award winner Blake Snell makes his spring debut Thursday night, maybe a tad more amped than you’d think.

“I’m excited just to see how ready I really am, see where I’m at, see how comfortable I am,’’ he said. “I want to feel that consistency that I felt to start spring last year, if not better. … Definitely excited. Looking forward to it. Already felt the jitters of, “I can’t wait to pitch,” so I’m excited about that.’’

The Rays put Snell on a slightly slower track to get ready for his expected March 28 opening day start, but it wasn’t just the extra week that has him antsy.

“I would say the extra five months really (since the end of last season),’’ he said. “I feel very ready to go. Excited. I’m healthy, which is a great thing. I just can’t wait. Kind of been just chilling it out a little bit but it’s just kind of hard because when I get home and lay my head down I start to freak out and get too excited.’’

Game report

Kean Wong sparked an eighth-inning rally that veteran non-roster infielder Emilio Bonifacio capped with an RBI single to put the Rays (2-4) ahead. … Robertson had a two-run double and a solo homer. “When you’re going out there relaxed and getting your work in good things happen like that,’’ he said. … Righthander Jake Faria allowed a wind-aided homer but otherwise had another impressive outing. “It’s good to see him get back in his comfort (zone),’’ Cash said. … Opener/reliever Ryne Stanek bounced back from a rough Sunday debut with a 1-2-3 sixth, striking out two as the Rays improved to 2-4.

Spring things

* Outfielder Avisail Garcia made his Rays debut, going 0-for-2 with a walk. Garcia, signed as a free-agent after being non-tendered by the White Sox following an injury-marred season, said he is fully recovered from Oct. 2 right knee surgery and looking forward to playing healthy and regaining his 2017 All-Star form.

* Third baseman Matt Duffy, slowed a week by hamstring tightness, is slated to make his spring debut Thursday. First baseman/DH Ji-Man Choi was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup having tweaked his back and aims for a weekend return.

* The Red Sox delayed their arrival in Port Charlotte to spend time as a team Wednesday morning dealing with news of the death of reserve Travis Swihart’s brother. … The Rays had flowers in the press box as a classy tribute to Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo, who passed away last week.

* Pitcher Wilmer Font, who impressed until a late June lat strain ended his season, is slated for a Saturday spring debut. Reliever Chaz Roe said he’ll throw live batting practice Friday then likely advance to game action next week.

Quote of the day

“When he comes in and gives you a high five it’s like a tree log hitting your hand.''

- Rays manager Kevin Cash on powerful prospect Nate Lowe.